New Orleans Saints vs. New York Jets: Score, Grades and Analysis
Behind a strong defensive performance and former New Orleans Saints running back Chris Ivory, the New York Jets surprised the football world by beating the heavily favored Saints in Week 9.
Gang Green was able to get the victory at home by utilizing a power-rushing attack and capitalizing on injuries that decimated the Saints’ vaunted passing game.
It appeared as if New Orleans would be able to overcome the absence of Marques Colston—who was declared out prior to the contest—and the loss of Darren Sproles—injured on the first drive—when Jimmy Graham dragged a defender into the end zone on a 51-yard score. But New York flipped the switch in a pivotal second quarter.
The Jets scored 17 points in the quarter to take a 20-14 lead into the locker room and never looked back. Ivory and rookie signal-caller Geno Smith found paydirt on the ground, which is how the Jets controlled the clock and kept opposing superstar quarterback Drew Brees off the field.
While the time of possession was even, New York established momentum and didn't have to get into a shootout with superstar Brees, which is typically a recipe for disaster when facing the Saints.
Brees noted that penalties were a huge obstacle for his team and suggested they need to rectify that problem in order to get back on track, per the team's Twitter:
Brees: "the penalties...we had 8 last week and 9 this week. That's far too many" #NOvsNYJ— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) November 3, 2013
Meanwhile, Rex Ryan praised his team's work ethic and resiliency after the game, according to the Jets on Twitter:
REX: Looking at this game we knew it was gonna be tough... All I know is I have a team that will fight to the end.— New York Jets (@nyjets) November 3, 2013
New York only mustered two field goals from kicker Nick Folk in the second half after putting up 20 points in the first two quarters, but the defense clamped down and conceded just a pair of field goals to New Orleans’ Garrett Hartley to seal the win.
The Jets were also able to win the turnover battle after picking off Brees twice.
Jets defensive lineman Damon Harrison took to Twitter after the win and thanked the fans for the positive atmosphere and the effect it had on the team:
Great team win!!! MetLife was amazing today u guys really made a big difference!! Thanks for the love #JetNation u guys deserve this win!!— Damon Harrison (@BigDame900) November 3, 2013
Let’s take a look at some game grades, highlight the top performer and more from this shocking contest.
|Positional Unit||Halftime Grades||Postgame Grades|
|Positional Unit||Halftime Grades||Postgame Grades|
Top Performer: Chris Ivory
Ivory was absolutely instrumental to the Jets’ victory, and it must have been that much sweeter coming against his former team.
The four-year veteran gashed the Saints—with whom he played from 2010 through 2012—for 139 yards and a score on 18 carries.
His best run came at the start of the second quarter, when he rumbled for 52 yards into New Orleans territory, setting up a field goal after a 93-yard drive that chewed up nearly five minutes of possession.
This was Ivory’s second big game in three weeks, as the 25-year-old broke out for the first time in a green and white uniform against the Patriots in Week 7. That 34-carry, 104-yard performance clearly wasn’t a fluke, and Ivory has surely supplanted Bilal Powell as the team’s primary backfield option.
New York has now proven that when it can stay in games and pound the running game, it can be difficult to stop.
What It Means
The Jets have once again moved above .500 and are just behind the New England Patriots in the AFC East. They gained a bit of separation from the Miami Dolphins—currently sitting at 4-4—and have a Week 10 bye to look forward to.
While some may believe that this week of rest will hinder the Jets’ momentum, it is worth noting that the squad has yet to win two games in a row in 2013.
Each of New York’s disappointing losses—such as a 19-6 defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6 and 49-9 shellacking by the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 8—have been followed by stellar victories, as evidenced by a 30-27 overtime win over the Pats and Sunday’s surprising win against New Orleans.
Will the Saints win the NFC South?
This is the second loss of the season for the Saints, both of which have come to AFC East opponents. Sunday's failure also represents their second loss in three games, something that will raise eyebrows after the club won its first five games in 2013.
However, the Saints are still in prime position to capture a top seed in the NFC and have a great chance at winning their division.
While the Carolina Panthers gained ground on Sunday after beating the Atlanta Falcons, they are still a game behind NOLA.
These rivals have two meetings against one another in the latter portion of the campaign.
It certainly isn’t time for the Saints fans to panic, but a loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football in Week 10 may be cause for concern.
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